invisible

For the next two days I’m living in a sunny, spare room over a bookshop, in a one-pump, two-church town by the sea. It’s a kind of self-imposed exile. I have this song to finish, and, well, to begin rediscovering who I used to be … . I don’t know anyone here. I’ll wander around among the streets, be quiet and observe …

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worshipful

Standing alone on a small empty stage beneath a wash of spotlights, soundchecking acoustic guitars, it’s easy to see that a dimly lit concert hall is a house of worship. Melody is a profound spirit, after all. I mean, who can say what it is? When I was starting out, I felt every time I walked on stage I …

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bulletproof

When I go on tour, I meet a lot of interesting people. After a show near Woodstock this week, a sweet man calling himself Star Blanket handed me a mysterious bag whose contents, he said, would make me … bulletproof. I opened it and looked inside it, and it was white willow bark, a cage necklace, and a …

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that’s beautiful

My friend Ryan stopped by this afternoon. I played him a song I started recording last week. (I’ve got an acoustic guitar, a lead vocal, and a temporary background part on it so far.) “That’s beautiful,” he said. I never know what to say after someone says, that’s beautiful, except to agree with them. For me, beauty is …

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beach place

There's a place on the coast that I go to now and then for stretches of isolated songwriting. It's a place where I can gaze out at sea for hours and listen to the waves bring the eternal note of heartache in. A new set of songs I'm writing is evolving as an intricate, relationship breakup album. …

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love songs

If your heart is broken, a song is a good place to grieve. If you want someone to fall in love with you, a song can be the place to take them in. I believe that all songs – the happy ones, the sad ones, the lullabies, the protest tunes, each social commentary and every funeral dirge – all of them are love songs, …

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world’s oldest musical instrument

I loved museums when I was a boy, and I still do. The great ones in New York City,  especially the Natural History Museum, were places of wonder to me. Some shows last week along the southern Atlantic coastline led me to the Smithsonian, where I spent hours wondering at this flute, discovered in a cave in Germany just ten years …

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